Vorarlberg: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  State of Austria  —


Coat of arms
Country  Austria
Capital Bregenz
 - Governor Herbert Sausgruber (ÖVP)
 - Total 2,601 km2 (1,004.3 sq mi)
 - Total 372,791
 Density 143.3/km2 (371.2/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code AT-8
NUTS Region AT3
Votes in Bundesrat 3 (of 62)
Website vorarlberg.at

Vorarlberg is the westernmost and wealthiest federal-state (Land) of Austria. Though it is the second smallest in terms of area (Vienna is the smallest) it borders three countries: Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg over Lake Constance), Switzerland (Graubünden and St. Gallen) and Liechtenstein. The only Austrian federal state that shares a border with Vorarlberg is Tyrol to the east. The capital of Vorarlberg is Bregenz, although Dornbirn and Feldkirch are larger cities in terms of population. Vorarlberg is also distinct in that it is the only province in Austria that does not speak an Austro-Bavarian dialect; it shares much in common with its neighbors in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Swabia.



The main rivers in Vorarlberg are the Ill (running through the Montafon and Walgau valleys into the Rhine), the Rhine (forming the border with Switzerland), the Bregenzer Ach and the Dornbirner Ach. Important lakes, apart from Lake Constance are Lüner Lake, Silvretta Lake, Vermunt Lake, Spuller Lake, the Kops Basin and Formarin Lake; the first four were created for the production of hydroelectric energy. However even before the dam for the power plant was built, Lüner Lake was the largest mountain lake in the Alps. Most of this hydroelectric energy is exported to Germany at peak times. At night energy from power plants in Germany is used to pump water back into some of the lakes.

As there are several notable mountain ranges in Vorarlberg, such as the Silvretta, the Rätikon, the Verwall and the Arlberg, there are many famous skiing regions (Arlberg, Montafon, Bregenzer Wald) and ski resorts (Lech, Zürs, Schruns, Warth, Damüls, Brand and many more). Damüls is also famous as the municipality with the most annual snowfall worldwide (on average 9.30 meters). The highest mountain is Piz Buin, whose rocky peak of 3,312 meters is surrounded by glaciers. Vorarlberg is supposed to enjoy the greatest scenic diversity within limited confines in the entire Eastern Alps; it adjoins the Western Alps. The distance from Lake Constance and the plains of the Rhine valley across the medium altitude and high alpine zones to the glaciers of the Silvretta range is a mere 90 km.


Administrative divisions

Vorarlberg is divided into four large districts, from north to south: Bregenz, Dornbirn, Feldkirch and Bludenz. These districts appear on the automobile license plates in the form of abbreviations: B, DO, FK and BZ.


For several years, the Vorarlberg economy has been performing well above the Austrian average. While the overall Austrian GDP in 2004 rose by a "mere" 2.0% in real terms, Vorarlberg recorded an increase of 2.9%. This came as a surprise, particularly as the major trading partners in Germany and Italy did not fare well. Owing to this robust economic performance, Vorarlberg was able to boost its gross regional product in 2004 to 11.5 billion EUR according to the Economic Policy Department of the Vorarlberg Chamber of Trade. This translates into a nominal increase of 5.0% (cf Austria as a whole +4.0%). The regional product per inhabitant in Vorarlberg is 31,000 EUR, exceeding the Austrian national average by 8%. Vorarlberg and especially the Rhine Valley is one of the wealthiest areas of the world, with a very high standard of living. In addition to the flourishing textile, clothing, electronics, machinery and packing materials industries of the Rhine Valley, there is also a broad agricultural base, especially in the Bregenzerwald, which is noted for its dairy products ("Bregenzerwälder Cheese Route") and tourism. The tourist industry employs a considerable number of Vorarlbergers. The greatest tourist attractions are the mountains and the numerous ski resorts, the largest (and most famous) of which are:

Famous skiers from these regions include Anita Wachter, Egon Zimmermann, Gerhard Nenning, Mario Reiter, Hubert Strolz, Hannes Schneider and the ski-jumper Toni Innauer. [2]


The population of Vorarlberg is 372,500. The majority (86%) of residents are of Austrian-Germanic stock with a cultural connection with Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west and Germany to the north. A sizable proportion of the population's ancestors came from the Swiss canton of Valais in migrations of "Walsers", including the Swiss French in the 19th century by invitation during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[citation needed]


78% of the population is Roman Catholic, which puts Vorarlberg in line with national Austrian average of (73.6%), 7,817 Vorarlberg inhabitants are Protestant (2.2%). The second largest religious denomination is Islam which has a share of 8.4% (mainly Turkish immigrants).


Owing to their location isolated from the rest of Austria, most of the people in Vorarlberg speak a very distinct German dialect that other Austrians have a hard time understanding. It is one of the Alemannic dialects that include Swiss German but are also spoken in Liechtenstein, Baden-Württemberg and the Alsace region of France. The dialects in the rest of Austria form part of the Bavarian-Austrian language group. In fact many towns and even villages in Vorarlberg have their own distinct sub-dialects.

Districts of Vorarlberg. Clockwise from north: Bregenz, Bludenz, Feldkirch, Dornbirn


Before the Romans conquered Vorarlberg, there were two Celtic tribes settled in this area: the Raeti inhabiting the highlands, and the Vindelici dwelling in the lowlands, i.e. the Lake Constance region and the Rhine Valley. One of the important settlements of the Vindelici was Brigantion (today Bregenz), founded around 500 BC. It was conquered by the Romans in 15 BC.

Vorarlberg was once part of the Roman Empire in the Roman province of Raetia; it then fell under the rule of the Bavarii (Bavarians) tribe. Subsequently, the region was settled by the Bavarii and the Langobards and later fell under the rule of the Counts of Montfort until 1525, when the Habsburgs took control.[1] The historically Germanic province, which was a gathering together of former bishoprics, was still ruled in part by a few semi-autonomous counts and surviving bishoprics until the start of World War I. Vorarlberg was a part of Further Austria, and parts of the area were ruled by the Counts Montfort of Vorarlberg.

Following World War I there was a desire by many in Voralberg to join Switzerland.[2] In a referendum held in Vorarlberg on 11 May 1919, over 80% of those voting supported a proposal for the state to join the Swiss Confederation. However this was prevented by the opposition of the Austrian Government, the Allies, Swiss liberals, the Swiss-Italians and the Swiss-French.[3] [4]

See also


  1. ^ http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/Vorarlberg
  2. ^ 1982 Britanica, article on History of Austria
  3. ^ C2D - Centre d'études et de documentation sur la démocratie directe
  4. ^ [1]

External links

Coordinates: 47°14′37″N 9°53′38″E / 47.24361°N 9.89389°E / 47.24361; 9.89389

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Central Europe : Austria : Vorarlberg

Vorarlberg is the westermost federal state of Austria, sharing borders with the countries of Germany, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland and the Austrian federal state of Tyrol.

  • Lake Constance: Great for water sports, sailing or daytrips to one of the islands.

Winter Sport Resorts

Many top winter sports resorts are located throughout Vorarlberg. Most of them are organized in regional ticket federations such as 3taeler Pass [1]. This means several day tickets are valid in all participating resorts and include free transportation with ski buses. Some of the larger winter sport places are:

  • Damüls (part of 3taeler Pass)
  • Diedamskopf (part of 3taeler Pass)
  • Lech-Zürs (part of the Ski Arlberg Region)
  • Silvretta Nova (part of Montafon Card)
  • Warth-Schröcken (part of 3taeler Pass)


The state is almost entirely mountainous and enjoys one of the hightest standards of living and income levels in Austria due to its proximity to Switzerland. It is also is home to an Alemanic alpine culture, quite different than the rest of Austria making it a special place in the country even to other Austrians. It is sometimes refered to in German as the "Landle", which translates as the "statelet" or "tiny province". Vorarlbergers are a very proud and hardy people and work hard to protect and preserve their identity and history.


Although the province of Vorarlberg is quite small the landscape is quite varied. When you arrive in Bregenz, the capital, you reach the lake region and Rhine valley, which stretches down to Feldkirch along the Rhine. From Bregenz you also have access to the Bregenzerwald, which is a narrow valley that leads to the Arlberg, the mountain range that separates Vorarlberg from Tyrol. The Kleinwalsertal also belongs to Vorarlberg, but it can only be accessed by road from Germany and Bavaria due to the mountains. From the end of the valley you get access to Alpine region Bludenz and the Walgau Valley, which stretches from Feldkirch to Bludenz. From Bludenz you also have access to the Montafon Valley. Other valleys in Vorarlberg are: the Klostertal (stretching from Bludenz to the Arlberg), the Walsertal which connects the Walgau and the Bregenzerwald, the Brandnertal in the Montafon region, the Laternsertal which connects the Rhine valley (Rheintal) with the Bregenzerwald, the Laiblachtal (close to Bregenz) and the Lechtal in the Arlberg region.


Even if you speak German, you may have problems understanding the people here because of their dialect. There are big variations in the accent and some of the words used even between the various regions. If you speak swedish or dutch this might be easier to understand for you than "hochdeutsch" (standard german). The people of vorarlberg speak a dialect similar to that of their neighbors in Eastern Switzerland, Liechtenstein and to the north in Swabia. This is unique to the rest of Austria, which speaks a dialect much similar to that of Bavaria and South Tyrol in Italy.

Get in

Autobahns and major highways are connected to Munich, Zurich and Innsbruck. Austrian and Swiss Autobahns charge toll.

By plane

Nearby international Airports include Zurich, Munich and Innsbruck. Other Airports are St.Gallen/Altenrhein in Switzerland (direct flights to Vienna) andn Friedrichshafen [2] in Germany (direct flights from London, Dublin, Spain, Turkey...) both located near the Lake of Constance (Bodensee).

By train

Major train routes come from Switzerland as well as Tyrol and you either enter Vorarlberg in Feldkirch or in Bregenz. The important train route Munich to Zurich goes right through Vorarlberg. A high number of Eurocity, Intercity and ICE trains go to either Bregenz or Feldkirch.

Vorarlberg is reachable by from important neighboring cities within relatively short time:

  • From/to Zurich: ~ 1.5h
  • From/to Innsbruck: ~ 2.5h
  • From/to Munich: ~2.5h

Get around

Vorarlberg has a very efficient public transport system. The railway from Bregenz to Feldkirch and the Arlberg is a kind of backbone and buses take you to all other places. Connections can be checked here: [3]. Vorarlberg is a very popular mountain biking region and has both exstensive paved and off-road bike paths.


Vorarlberg offers various summer and winter sport facilities (mountain biking, cycling, inline skating, skiing, snowboarding...) and there are also a lot of cultural events throughout the year including carnival in towards the end of winter.

Bregenz district

  • Major cultural attractions in Bregenz are Bregenzer Frühling, [4] with modern dance and especially the Bregenzer Festspiele, [5] with the stage on the lake.
  • The Kunsthaus[6] in Vorarlberg's capital. The museum built by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has a very special lighting system which combines artificial and natural light and makes visiting any exhibition an extraordinary experience. The museum specializes in modern art.
  • The Künstlerhaus Bregenz[7] is another place for those who are interested in modern art. The exhibitions are organized by the professional association of Vorarlberg artists.
  • The Gebhardsberg ("Gebhards mountain) is 598 m above sea level and it offers a splendid view on the Rhine Valley (Rheintal) and Lake Constance (Bodensee). It is popular among the local population for walks. On it you can find the ruins of Hohenbregenz, which was built at the end of 11th century, in 1097, by the Dukes of Bregenz. It later changed ownership several times and in the 17th century it was extended into a stronghold. In 1647 it was captured by the Swedes without any resistence and they blew up the fortress in the same year. From 1670 the ruins gained importance as a place of pilgrimage of St. Gebhard and they were adapted for religious and gastronimical purposes several times. In 1723 the church, which was built within the ruins, was consecrated. In this time the "mountain" got its present name. There is a restaurant there now.
  • The Pfänder (1064 m) [8] is another mountain with a spectacular view on Lake Constance, Vorarlberg, Switzerland and Germany. It is also a popular mountain for easy walks or mountain biking tours and if you don't like walking, you can go up with the Pfänderbahn (Pfander cablecar).

Dornbirn district

  • The Karren[9] is worth a visit. From here you have a splendid view of the Lake Constance and you look into 3 countries: Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Either you use the cablecar to go up or - if you're fit - you walk up there but they way is quite steep.
  • Visit the modern and well done inatura[10] alpine nature museum, or if cars are your thing, the largest Rolls Royce museum[11] in the world, both in Dornbirn.
  • Go to the jewish quarter in Hohenems and visit the Jewish Museum[12], that tells the story of the city's jewish history.
  • In Lustenau: Take a ride with the narrow gauge steam railway along the river Rhine and visit the rheinschauen[13] museum, telling the story of the river.
  • Dornbirn may not be the nicest city of Vorarlberg but it's quite lively in the evening when it's warm. It's definitely worth a visit then.

Feldkirch district

  • Feldkirch has a beautiful small old town, which is definitely worth a visit although it only comprises a few streets. In summer the streets are quite lively and there are many cafés which invite you to take a rest. The town is much overlooked by the bus tours that head straight south for the "touristy" capital of Liechtenstein in Vaduz, preserving much of the authentic integrity of the city and saving you the kitch! Feldkirch comes to life during the carnival season in the late winter and has quite the parade and festive atmosphere during this period. Feldkirch is a good launching point for explorataions of the tiny country of Liechtenstein and the neighboring valley of Walgau which are both worth a visit for their scenic beauty. Feldkich while smaller than Bregenz and Dornbirn is much more historic and has a romantic charm unto itself.
  • On a hill overlooking the town of Feldkirch is the dark and impossing Schattenburg Castle. There's a restaurant in the castle and also a castle museum. The restaurant is known regionally for its large and tasty servings of Wienerschnitzel!
  • Feldkirch used to be the home of the Stella Matutina, a Jesuit grammar school that is also mentioned in Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain". Now the building is home to an academy of music.
  • At the top of the Ardetzenberg, 15 min from the city center, you can finde a lovely little zoo, the Wildpark, where you can see the a big deal of animals who are or where living the the alps, inluding woolves, Luchse, deers, wild pigs and so on. the wildpark is free of charge.
  • In summer time a noteable fesival, Poolbarfesival, is taking place at the Altes Hallenbad in Feldkirch. For six weeks there is a nice mixture of concerts, architecture, art, caberette and party going on just 100 m outside of the old town center.
  • Nearby Feldkirch, in Rankweil, one finds the Liebfrauen Basilica, an old place of pilgrimage located on a small hill in the center of the village.
  • The best place to sleep in Feldkirch, if you are traveling on budget is the Jugendherberge Levis. 10 minutes away from the train station, this hostel is siutated in an old mideval Fachwerkhaus, which used to be a hospital, thats why its name: the Siechenhaus.
  • Bludenz also has a nice old town. It is home to a Milka factory and a brewery too.
  • Golf: two 18 hole (Bludenz-Braz and Brand) and two 9 hole (Schruns, Partenen) are available. These courses are very scenic and worth playing.


Vorarlberg has more than 40 restaurants that have been distinguished by Gault Millau. Therefore visiting Vorarlberg can also be a culinary delight.

Bregenz and surroundings:

  • Restaurant Guth, Lauterach [14] nearby Bregenz.
  • Restaurant Mangold, Lochau [15] nearby Bregenz.
  • Kaesknoepfle, or so called spatzle. a typical Vorarlberger dish. Very heavy but delicious. This is how they are made. For the dough you need 500 g flour, 5 eggs, salt, a pinch of nutmeg, a little milk, 200 - 250 g grated cheese (3 different kinds), salted water, 1-2 table spoons oil, 1 big onion, 1/2 tea spoon flour, 125 g butter. Prepare a firm dough out of the eggs, the flour, the salt and the milk. Don't use a mixer for this and don't stir too long. Let the dough rest for 1/4 hour. To make the dumplings people use a "Spaetzlehobel" here but you can also fling small portions of the dough (tiny dumplings) into the boiling salted water (with oil). You have to be quick here. You have to do this portion by portion. When the dumplings swim, then you fish then out of the water with a sieve or strainer. Then you put one layer of spatzle into a bowl. The lowest layer is cheese, the last one spatzle. You alternate: cheese, spatzle, cheese, ... At the end you pour a laddle of the water that they cooked in over these layers and then you spread the golden-brown onion rings with the butter over the spatzle. Many people have potato salad with it. But the custom differs from household to household.
  • Hotel Zamangspitze, Ziggamweg 227, A-6791 St. Gallenkirch/Montafon, +43 (0) 5557 6238 (, fax: +43 (0) 5557 6238-5), [16].  edit

Stay safe

Vorarlberg has crime rates significantly lower than that of most Western countries. Street crime is rare, even late at night. Women traveling alone should have no problems.

Tap water is of exceptional quality and safe to drink. The drinking age for beer, wine and cider is 16 while the age for any other alcohol is 18. The public consumption of alcohol in Vorarlberg is legal, so do not be alarmed if you see a group of teenagers drinking a six-pack on public property; this is by no means out of the ordinary and should not be interpreted as threatening.

In mountain areas, be sure to inquire about weather conditions at the tourist information office or local alpine huts as you head out in the morning. They should be well informed about severe weather conditions and will advise you about possible avalanche areas.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

VORARLBERG, the most westerly province of the Austrian empire, extending S. of the Lake of Constance along the right bank of the Rhine valley. It consists of three districts, Bregenz, Bludenz and Feldkirch, which are under the administrative authority of the Statthalter (or prefect) at Innsbruck, but possess a governor and a diet of their own (twenty-one members), and send four members to the imperial parliament. Vorarlberg is composed of the hilly region of the Bregenzerwald, and, to its south, of the mountain valley of Montafon or of the upper Ill, through which an easy pass, the Zeinisjoch (6076 ft.), leads to the Tirolese valley of Paznaun, and so to Landeck. Near Bludenz the Kloster glen parts from the Ill valley; through the latter runs the Arlberg railway (1884) - beneath the pass of that name (5912 ft.) - to Landeck and Innsbruck. The Ill valley is bounded south by the snowy chain of the Rhatikon (highest point, the Scesaplana, 9741 ft., a famous view-point), and of the Silvretta (highest point, Gross Piz Buin, 1 0,880 ft.), both dividing Vorarlberg from Switzerland; slightly to the north-east of Piz Buin is the Dreilanderspitze (10,539 ft.), where the Vorarlberg, Tirolese and Swiss frontiers unite.

The total area of Vorarlberg is 1004.3 sq. m. Of this 884%, or about 886 sq. m., is reckoned "productive," 30% of this limited area being occupied by forests, while 118 sq. m. rank as "unproductive." In 1900 the total population was 129,237, all but wholly German-speaking and Romanist. The largest town is Dornbirn (pop. 13; 052), but Bregenz (pop. 7595) is the political capital; Feldkirch has about 4000 inhabitants, while Bludenz has rather more (see the separate articles on the three former). In the hilly districts the inhabitants mainly follow pastoral pursuits, possessing much cattle of all kinds. In the towns the spinning and weaving of cotton (introduced towards the end of the 18th century) is very flourishing. Forests cover about one-sixth of the district, and form one of the principal sources of its riches. But the Vorarlberg is predominantly an Alpine region, though its mountains rarely surpass the snowlevel. Ecclesiastically it is in the diocese of Brixen, whose vicar-general (a suffragan bishop) resides at Feldkirch.

The name of the district means the "land that is beyond the Arlberg Pass," that is, as it seems to one looking at it from the Tirol. This name is modern and is a collective appellation for the various counties or lordships in the region which the Habsburgs (after they secured Tirol in 1363) succeeded in purchasing or acquiring - Feldkirch (1375, but Hohenems in 1765 only), Bludenz with the Montafon valley (1394), Bregenz (in two parts, 1451 and 1523) and Sonnenberg (14s5). After the annexation of Hohenems (its lords having become extinct in 1759), Maria Theresa united all these lordships into an administrative district of Hither Austria, under the name Vorarlberg, the governor residing at Bregenz. In 1782 Joseph II. transferred the region to the province of Tirol. The lordship of Blumenegg was added in 1804, but in 1805 all these lands were handed over, by virtue of the peace of Pressburg, to Bavaria, which in 1814 gave them all back, save Hoheneck. In 1815 the present administrative arrangements were made.

See A. Achleitner and E. Ubl, Tirol and Vorarlberg (Leipzig, 18 95); J. R. von Bergmann, Landeskunde v. Vorarlberg (Innsbruck, 1868); Max Haushofer, Tirol and Vorarlberg (Bielefeld and Leipzig, 18 99); J. C. Heer, Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein - Land and Leute (Feldkirch, 1906); O. von Pfister, Das Montavon (Augsburg, 1884); J. Staffier, Tirol and Vorarlberg (5 vols., Innsbruck, 1839-46); A. Steinitzer, Geschichtliche and Kulturgeschichtliche Wanderungen durch Tirol and Vorarlberg (Innsbruck, 1905); A. Waltenberger, Algdiu, Vorarlberg and Westtirol (loth edition, Innsbruck, 1906). See also the list of books at the end of TIROL, and especially vol. xiii. ("Tirol u. Vorarlberg") (Vienna, 1893) of the great official work entitled Die oesterreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort and Bild. (W. A. B. C.)

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Simple English

Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal state in Austria. The capital is Bregenz,the biggest cities are Feldkirch and Dornbirn.


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